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The defense process

Each graduate program has its own protocol for scheduling and conducting the defense of ­theses and dissertations. Ensure that you know your department’s procedures and that you follow them. Even if defense information is supplied in your Graduate Program Handbook, it’s always a good idea to consult your advisor for details.

Scheduling and calendar requirements

In ALL cases, you MUST notify Enrolled Services of the date, time, location and other details of your defense at least 10 days prior to your defense. To do that, complete the online form that will add your defense to the Defense Calendar. Submitting that form will generate an email to Enrolled Services, and that email will serve as your official written notification. If you need to change your defense details, use the Edit Defense Details form. This form has a brief time delay, so when you click “Submit,” it may appear that nothing happens. Your updated defense entry should appear on the calendar shortly.

After your defense

Meeting the deadline

Your defense must be conducted before the final filing deadline for the GS7M (master’s/specialist’s candidates) or GS7D (doctoral candidates) form. Be sure to check the Current Student Deadlines chart for more information. Be aware that scheduling your defense on, very near or after the deadline will leave you little or no time to make committee-required revisions to your manuscript and will likely result in delaying your graduation. Schedule your defense as early as you can, but at least several days before the final deadline. Please refer back to the About Deadlines section on the ETD landing page.

Submitting the committee-signed GS7 form

After you have successfully defended, your committee will do one of three things:

  1. Sign your GS7M or GS7D form;
  2. Require you to make revisions to your manuscript, then sign the GS7M or GS7D; or
  3. Require you to make committee-required revisions to your manuscript and complete the manuscript review by the Graduate School, then sign your GS7M or GS7D.

Any of these options is fine as long as the manuscript review process is completed and your GS7M or GS7D is submitted before the final deadline.

What if my committee wants major edits after my defense?

If your committee requires you to make major revisions and you feel you won’t be able to meet the ETD submission and revision deadlines, you may discuss with your advisor the option of delaying your graduation for one term. If you can complete your manuscript revisions for committee approval, get a format review and acceptance, and turn in your GS7, all by the first day classes for the coming semester, you will be cleared to graduate at the end of that semester without having to enroll in any credit hours or pay tuition. Check with Enrolled Student Services for the exact deadline for each semester, and please let Enrolled Services know that you are delaying.

The next step

After you have made any committee-required revisions and have compared your manuscript to the Final ETD Checklist, you’ll proceed to the CONVERT stage to create your PDF for publication.

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